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The Influence of T'ai Chi Ch'uan

The practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan cultivates an attitude of gentleness, softness, yielding, and acceptance. This is achieved by deeply relaxing the external muscular body and allowing for the internal stimulation and movement of Qi. The ancient Taoist concept of Qi and its mobilization informs almost every aspect of my practice. Adopting these principles and applying them to manual therapy has allowed me to stay relaxed and focused while drawing energy from my entire body rather than relying on the effort from my arms and hands.

T’ai Chi, and especially the practice of Push-Hands, has taught me how to ‘push’ or advance through resistance, while at the same time be receptive and sense for ‘openings’. Feeling for resistance can inform me as to the nature and cause of a problem, and following pathways of ‘openings’ help me reach deeper into the body, closer to the bone, closer to a correspondence between your experience and my touch.

The perceived dichotomies of power and emptiness; lightness and grounding; or softness and directed focus - are interdependent, and essential. This can also be thought of as the separation of Yin and Yang. In this way, T’ai Chi Ch’uan has given me a capacity to combine intention and receptivity which formulates an essential foundation to my work.

I learned Cheng Man-ch’ing’s T’ai Chi form from Master Benjamin Lo in 1985. And followed my training with Martin Inn, both in San Francisco, California. And most recently, all too briefly, with the late Bataan Faigao of Boulder, Colorado.

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